What a difference a year makes, hm? Last year Lynn and I were looking forward to a quiet Thanksgiving in our new house, and this year — well, we’re having a quiet Thanksgiving in our slightly less new house.
It’s amazing, if not outright depressing, how much difference there is in doing something because you want to versus because you’re supposed to. Chances are high that, left to our own devices, Lynn and I would be having a very similar Thanksgiving to the one that isn’t even planned, as of yet, but without Corona looming as an unwanted guest, there were Options.
We could have had friends over. We could have gone to friends. My sister is now in town; we could have had Thanksgiving with her. We probably would not have, no matter what, gone to Denver to see the rest of the family, particularly since Lynn is at work as I type this, but it was an option. Until this turkey of a virus took over and cleared the entire table of options.
A distressing number of people are not letting Corona get in the way of their options, which has health officials across the country — but not the governor of South Dakota, presiding over the second-worst per-capita death toll in the world, just behind her neighbor to the north — stressed.
But there are those of us who are heeding public health advice, even if that means it feels less like a holiday. I’m not sure why; like I said, it’s the same day we had a year ago, except that Lynn didn’t have to work, for once. But I’m having trouble working up enthusiasm for mashing the potatoes, torn by the ennui engendered by the thought of food preparation versus eating a nice meal and pretending everything is normal.
I did read a headline somewhere that said something about “These women won’t miss the holiday,” and I knew exactly who they were talking about, without bothering to read the article. For many of us, Thanksgiving is about sitting around socializing, eating a giant meal, while for the chosen few, it’s all about the kitchen.
I also read, in an article about people whose plans were evolving due to Corona creeping into their midst, where some young man with the virus was lamenting that if his mom came down with it, there would be no Thanksgiving, because she does all the cooking. Nothing like the holidays to bring out selflessness!
Were I a real thinker, rather than a last-minute ideaist, I might have suggested a roving potluck among friends, where each household took responsibility for one or two dishes and we drove all the pieces around to one another. That might have been festive –glad I thought of it this morning.
It is now several hours later. Thanksgiving dinner at our house is still not planned, particularly. I mean, there’s a menu, but no real plan for prep time. Turkey tenderloin wrapped in bacon, more suitable than a whole turkey, potatoes yet to be harvested from the box in the garage . . . I’m having trouble motivating, and Lynn would like to take a nap. We’ll get there at some point.
We did have a virtual family gathering, one that even briefly included my uncle and aunt, just before he moved from a not-quite-intensive care ward to a regular room in the same hospital, preparatory to a move to a rehab facility. Had it been a regular-year Thanksgiving, there might have been a phone call or two, but no visuals, and certainly no checking in with Uncle Jerry. So there are some points of light, even if dim, in this Eon of Pandemia.
I was going to — and I guess I will, right here — point out that there are reasons people don’t care for politicians and others who tell them what to do. First, after the governor of California told his constituents to stay home, eat outdoors and always wear a mask when in the company of another household, he went to a fancy restaurant and broke every single rule he had laid out for everyone else.
You know it was a fancy restaurant because it had a stupid name: French Laundry. What about that sounds remotely appetizing? While the governor tried to insist the social dinner had been scheduled for outside, the pictures were pretty clear: inside, no masks, more than two households, more than the recommended number of participants.
Right on the heels of this mishap, the mayor of Denver, where apparently they don’t get national news, told his constituents the same thing, specifically targeting Thanksgiving: don’t go see your family. Don’t travel. Stay within your household. One hour — an hour! — after his press conference, he waded through the Denver airport, boarded a plane, had a layover in Houston, and ended up in Mississippi, so that he could spend the holiday with his wife and daughter.
His lame argument was that this was in lieu of his usual 50-family-member gathering, and that upon his return to Denver he will be quarantining and taking all other prescribed precautions, but why should anyone believe that? His very own prescription included not traveling in the first place.
So, I put it to you, voters: the laissez-faire approach of the Republican in South Dakota who seems to have no compunction whatsoever about killing her constituents, or the blatant hypocrisy of the Democrats in California and Denver who have no problem whatsoever publicly disregarding their own mandates? I understand the New York governor was also planning to spend Thanksgiving with family until he got shamed out of it.
By now, even though Lynn and I haven’t really started, I assume you’re going to do whatever you decided to do about Thanksgiving. Wherever you are, whatever you’ve decided to do, I hope you are having a healthy and safe holiday.